Art Wednesday: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Artists: Javacheff Christo (1935 - ) and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009)
Style: Conceptual artist

Christo (born in Bulgaria) and Jeanne-Claude (Morocco to French parents) were born on the same date (1935). They first met in Paris in October 1958. Their works were credited to just "Christo" until 1994 when the outdoor works and large indoor installations were retroactively credited to "Christo and Jeanne-Claude". They flew in separate planes: in case one crashed, the other could continue their work.

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact.  The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art or joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes. (source: Wikipedia).  For more information on their many art installations and how they constructed, visit their website: link.

  The Pont Neuf Wrapped
A group of 300 professional workers deployed 454,178 square feet (40,876 square meters) of woven polyamide fabric, silky in appearance and golden sandstone in color, covering the entire bridge.  The fabric was restrained by 8 miles (13 kilometers) of rope and secured by 12.1 tons of steel chains encircling the base of each tower, 3.3 feet (1 meter) underwater.
Valley curtain
This installation was constructed in the Rifle Gap, Colorado costing $775,000 and lasted only 24 hours. Christo draped nine tons of orange, nylon-polymide fabric from four steel cables and suspended at 365 feet.  On August 11, 1972, 28 hours after completion of the Valley Curtain, a gale estimated in excess of 60 mph (96.6 kph) made it necessary to start the removal.
 German Reichstag in Berlin
It took a work force of 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers to wrap the Reichstag and it remained wrapped for 14 days and all materials were recycled. An amazing 1,076,390 square feet (100,000 square meters) of thick woven polypropylene fabric with an aluminum surface and 9.7 miles (15.6 kilometers) of blue polypropylene rope, diameter 1.26 inch (3.2 centimeters), were used for the wrapping of the Reichstag. The fa├žades, the towers and the roof were covered by 70 tailor-made fabric panels, twice as much fabric as the surface of the building.
The Gates in Central Park
Twenty-three miles of footpaths in Central Park were filled with 7,503 frames covered by saffron drapes. Five million people came to view the art work.
The Umbrellas
1,760 yellow umbrellas were set up in California while 1,340 blue umbrellas were simultaneously installed in Japan.
 Surrounding Islands, Florida
Eleven of the islands situated in the area of Bakers Haulover Cut, Broad Causeway, 79th Street Causeway, Julia Tuttle Causeway, and Venetian Causeway were surrounded with 6.5 million square feet (603,870 square meters) of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric covering the surface of the water and extending out 200 feet (61 meters) from each island into the bay. The fabric was sewn into 79 patterns to follow the contours of the 11 islands.  It remained for 2 weeks. Surrounded Islands was tended day and night by 120 monitors in inflatable boats.
Little Bay in Sydney was used for this installation. The cliff was wrapped is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) long, 150 to 800 feet (46 to 244 meters) wide, 85 feet (26 meters) high at the northern cliffs and was at sea level at the southern sandy beach.  One million square feet (92,900 square meters) of erosion-control fabric (synthetic woven fiber usually manufactured for agricultural purposes) were used for the wrapping. 35 miles (56.3 kilometers) of polypropylene rope, 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) in diameter, tied the fabric to the rocks. Ramset guns fired 25,000 charges of fasteners, threaded studs and clips to secure the rope to the rocks.  It remained for 10 weeks.
 The Wall
The Gasometer, one of the largest gas tanks in the world, 360 feet (110 meters) high by 223 feet (68  metres) in diameter was used as the base in this installation. The 13,000 oil barrels wall was 85 feet (26 metres) tall and 223 feet (68  metres) wide with a depth of 23.7 feet (7.23 meters), and spanned the distance from wall to wall of the Gasometer. The barrels (208 liter capacity each) were connected to a structural core made of steel scaffolding structure to which they were bolted. The entire wall of barrels was supported by steel pillars resting on the foundation of the Gasometer, and not connected to the steel structure of the Gasometer.

This is planned for 2012
 Over the river, Colorado's Arkansas River
Will span forty miles of the heavily-rafted Arkansas River. Panels of luminous fabric will be suspended eight to 25 feet above the river by approximately one thousand steel cables. The fabric will flow naturally with the river—each panel measuring the exact width of the water, with many sections disrupted by bridges, rocks and trees. In all, the translucent fabric will cover less than six miles of the forty mile stretch. Although light and water can both transfer with ease through the fabric, the artists have paid for an extensive environmental impact study to ensure no harm will be done during the installation’s two-week lifespan.

So what can you and your children wrap up today? How about the house, wouldn't dad be surprised when he got home!



  1. I have to admit some of these pieces look amazing but I am afraid my small, uncreative mind cannot fathom it at all. Just can't see why? Too practical I guess :-)


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